How Retailers Use Psychology To Make You Spend More

With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, you might have noticed yourself acting a little strangely when you’re out shopping. Over on Psychology Today, you can find a breakdown of the sensory campaigns most shops use to alter your Christmas shopping habits.

Photo by Dov Harrington.

A holiday shopping campaign is a multi-pronged approach from an advertising point of view, and as Psychology Today points out, marketers are going after each of your senses to convince you to buy more. This works in different ways depending on which senses they’re going for. For instance, certain colours might change your spending habits:

Red stimulates and energizes — even our spending. Waitresses wearing red receive 14 to 26% higher tips than waitresses wearing any other colour uniform. Another study found that shoppers on eBay bid more aggressively for products shown against red backgrounds than blue backgrounds.

Of course, it’s not just what you see that matters — it’s also what you hear. In the case of the December, that means holiday music:

More importantly, classic holiday music evokes nostalgia. Recent research shows that nostalgia elevates positive moods and helps people feel better about themselves… Feeling more connected to others, positive and loaded with holiday spirit is a recipe of on the spot bumps in gift budgets.

All of your senses play a role in your shopping experience, from the sensation of touching a product, to the smells that waft out from the shopping floor. Unfortunately, much like how advertising manipulates your choices, you can’t do much to counter the experience except recognise what’s going on. When you’re aware of the manipulation at retailers, you’re less likely to succumb to their effects.

This Is Your Brain On Holiday Shopping [Psychology Today]


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